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‘Pay for play’ gaming a reality

Ben Parfitt
UK gamers could soon be playing big-name titles through a television, without the need to buy the game itself – or even own a console or PC.

t5 Labs is currently in negations with top publishers and global TV service providers to bring its Virtual Games Console to the US and Europe.

The technology streams game code straight to a set-top box and streams it to the TV screen, much in the same way as ‘on demand’ movies currently operate. The service is set to launch at the beginning of Q2 next year in Europe (most likely in France initially) and the US in Q3.

“We would expect the price to be £1 per play, whether that’s a level or an hour or whatever,” CEO of t5 labs Graham Clemie told MCV. “A subscription model would cost let’s say £15 a month for as many games as you like. It’s quite similar in some ways to systems like Metaboli, but the difference is you don’t need a PC to run it. Network operators are looking for new innovative services, and they are spending millions promoting them.”

It may sound similar to systems already in place which pipe casual games through set- top boxes, but Clemie insists the games on offer will also include more hardcore, big name titles.  

“You’d be able to play almost any PC game. Currently we’ve got verbal agreements with three of the top ten publishers, we’re just waiting for final approval. The current beta version can support Unreal Tournament 2003, Need for Speed Underground 2 and also casual games.”

“In the run-up to Christmas for example, people will think, ‘Shall I buy an Xbox 360, or a PS3 or do I just get this new whizzy service from Virgin Media for £15 a month?’ A lot of people will consider it."

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Tags: console free gaming , pc free gaming , set top box gaming , t5 labs

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